The Ministers of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) welcome the First Global Stocktake, as a vital opportunity for a universal push this decade to keep global warming below 1.5°C. There is mounting irrefutable evidence that the world is in uncharted territory and that there is but a narrowing window of opportunity to secure a livable planet for all.
The entry into force of the Paris Agreement inspired a new generation of emissions reduction targets that saw projections for global warming reduced by whole degrees. As promising as those projections were, they only brought us within range of keeping global warming as close to 2.7°C, not 1.5°C. Even more concerning is that action is lagging. Already the world has experienced global warming of 1.1°C and recent science suggests that we are nearing the 1.5°C warming threshold. It is now a matter of years not decades!!
The impacts have been devastating on a global scale. However, those impacts have been discriminating especially against our small island and low lying coastal developing states. Our experience of economic and non-economic loss and damage related to climate impacts has struck at the core of our economies and our societies. At one extreme, lives and livelihoods have been lost. Our peoples’ health is at risk. Homes, and other critical infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed. Whole sectors of the economy have been shut down whether in times of hurricane or drought or because of slow onset events and for some, the threat of slowing down of other sectors is imminent due to energy transitions that will become inevitable. At the other extreme, our environment is under siege. The biodiversity and ecosystems that have sustained generations of Caribbean people are under constant threat.
Still, we strive. The Caribbean remains committed to 1.5°C. We are committed to accelerating the renewable energy transition in our region. We are committed to a robust conservation and sustainable use agenda for our natural resources. Our ocean and forests are important carbon sinks that benefit not only our people and our countries; they benefit the world. We are committed to building the resilience of our people, economies, and environment. We are doing so with our own limited resources, with limited fiscal space, and in tandem with progressing our targets for Sustainable Development Goals.
Despite our own best efforts to entrench climate resilient development at home, we are faced with a global environment that is not conducive to our ambition. The wars in Ukraine and in Palestine are having waves of impacts worldwide. Inflationary pressures are driving up costs of capital that were already unaffordable for our small economies with complex debt dynamics. Even before these more recent disruptions, we have had to work within an international financial environment that is ill suited to support vulnerable countries with the raft of new and emerging transboundary challenges like climate and biodiversity loss. Our access to affordable, sustainable, predictable, and scalable finance has been limited, slow and sometimes precluded due to anachronistic eligibility criteria and overburdensome bureaucracy.
In the face of these external challenges, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) remains sanguine. Member States are pursuing readiness to better access climate finance and development finance more broadly including through the piloting of a multidimensional vulnerability index. We are pioneering innovative finance initiatives from conservation bonds, to catastrophe bonds, to disaster clauses; and exploring new opportunities in carbon markets that are rights based and that can uphold environmental integrity. We are also joining up efforts to push forward a reform agenda for international financial institutions that have people and planet as their central focus.
The Ministers now look to the Global Stocktake to send strong unequivocal signals that the world is up to task, and ready to do its part; that together we will support 1.5°C aligned pathways for just, equitable and accelerated transition across whole of economies and societies; that we will cooperate to accelerate adaptation and foster climate resilient development; and that we will do so with urgency, in an inclusive people centered manner and with the aim that we will leave no one behind.
The Ministers emphasise four key headline commitments for the GST:
- To pursue 1.5°C Pathways for just, equitable and accelerated transition.
- To accelerate progress in implementation of the Global Goal on Adaptation.
- To operationalize and capitalize the Loss and Damage Fund.
- To deliver transformational finance for a 1.5°C Agenda
Across these commitments, we have identified differentiated roles and responsibilities, where appropriate, timelines where needed, related means of implementation, and follow-up processes.
- 1.5°C Pathways for just, equitable and accelerated transition
Of utmost importance, leaders should make an unswerving political commitment to slash emissions and enable systemic transformations with milestones for action between now and 2050 consistent with 1.5°C aligned pathways
Major economies of the Group of 20, accounting for over 80 percent of GHG emissions, hold our future in their hands. Furthermore, developed economies have the capacity as well as the historic responsibility to lead and to support greater ambition and action. We urge them to update their 2030 emissions reductions targets to give 1.5°C a chance.
All State Parties also have a collective duty to raise ambition in the next round of nationally determined contributions, with 1.5°C aligned 2035 emissions reductions targets. Collectively, we should aim to ensure the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions will be economy wide, cover all gases, incorporate ambitious sectoral and non-CO2 GHG targets and actions and include a projected peaking date if not yet reached. Finally, we should aim to ensure that our long-term low emissions development strategies are also 1.5°C aligned.
Ministers also consider that for the GST to serve as the accelerator for systemic transformations, State Parties and non-Party stakeholders should commit to strengthen efforts to rapidly scale up initiatives to transform those high emitting sectors highlighted in the GST Synthesis Report. In this regard, the GST outputs could welcome initiatives such as the push to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 and double energy efficiency in the same period. For small island developing states, the GST could help our renewable energy revolution by encouraging policies to foster sound investments in our transition plans and to facilitate the development of or deployment of the best available technology that can meet our needs, match our scale, and ensure respect for our culture and people. Likewise, the GST could welcome efforts to reduce deforestation by 2030 and at the same time, encourage policies to incentivize increased funding and support for nature-based solutions for which small islands and low lying coastal states of our region already have a strong track record.
To truly set us on a path to 1.5C, there is a need to lay the groundwork for a just and equitable global transition away from fossil fuels. Here, once again, developed economies have the capacity and historic responsibility to lead. Ministers consider that these countries should end fossil fuel subsidies and ongoing investments in fossil fuel expansion in favour of a more favourable policy and investment landscape for renewables and efficiency, especially in developing countries. Similarly, Ministers consider that the GST should encourage Non-Party Stakeholders to contribute to strengthen these efforts in a credible, accountable and transparent manner.
The breadth, depth and urgency of the transformations needed are expected to be disruptive in some instances hence the call for a just and orderly transition underpinned by equity and justice. For this to happen, international cooperation will be essential. In Ministers’ view, the GST should enable international cooperation. We urge that in so doing the GST and the follow up process including through the just transitions work programme will include a focus on the unique circumstances of small island and low lying coastal developing states.
- Accelerate progress in implementation of the Global Goal on Adaptation
The Caribbean Community Member States at all levels have demonstrated their resilience in the face of the worse impacts of climate change; but we can scarcely afford to keep up with the pace and scale of change in an increasingly warming world. The Ministers consider that agreement on a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation will be a major demonstration of commitment to enhance action and support for adaptation, including locally led adaptation, in developing countries. The outputs of the GST should capture this commitment and entrench the interlinkage between the GGA framework and the GST process.
The Ministers reaffirm support for the high-level targets that the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) have proposed for the GGA framework, namely:
- Enhancing well-being and prosperity by increasing access to water, food and nutrition, and health for the most vulnerable groups by 2030.
- Reducing exposure to climate related risks by reducing the number of individuals affected as a share of the country’s total population by 2030.
- Maintaining, enhancing or restoring ecosystems by protecting at least 30% of the land and ocean by 2030.
- Ensuring all countries have formulated and implemented National Adaptation Plans or other national adaptation policy instruments, by 2030 to reduce national and local communities’ vulnerability to climate risk.
In addition to re-inforcing action and support for the GGA, the Ministers consider that the GST should also encourage increased international cooperation to support the further improvement in information services and other capacity building as well as technology development and/or deployment to support effective adaptation planning. In this regard, the Caribbean Community Member States have committed to the initiative Early Warning for All by 2027 and call for continued coordination and cooperation for the enhancement of capacity and technology to support improvements to real-time sharing and integrating of data, conducive to rapidly-evolving hazards, and in archives, for climate analysis, research, and risk knowledge particularly in small island and low lying coastal developing states.
- Operationalising and capitalising the Loss and Damage Fund
The Ministers recall the COP decision taken in Sharm el-Sheikh to establish a loss and damage fund and considers that the GST should include a political commitment for the effective operationalization and early capitalization of the Fund. Ministers also recall, in this regard, the AOSIS Leaders’ Declaration that the Fund shall be independent and differentiated and designed to ensure that SIDS needs are fully considered and prioritized especially in the context of access and resource allocation.
The Ministers further recall the decision of the Conference of the Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community endorsing the consortia led by the Caribbean Development Bank to host the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage. The Ministers also express their desire that the GST shall include a political commitment to support the Santiago Network so that it can effectively deliver on its mandate in a timely fashion.
- Transformational finance for a 1.5°C Agenda
Ministers recall the IPCC conclusion that supporting a 1.5°C agenda will necessitate scaling up investments in the order of at least six times that of current levels. The GST should provide the assurance that developed countries will deliver on their existing commitment of USD100 billion per year by 2020 including the shortfall to date, and the doubling of adaptation finance by 2025. It should also provide the assurance that developed countries are ready and willing to significantly scale up public sector finance for climate action in developing countries in the new climate finance goal to be decided in 2025.
In line with the adoption of the GGA framework, the GST should also address the need for adequate, new, additional, and sustained support especially for small island and low lying coastal developing states to implement the GGA including for monitoring, evaluation and learning. Additionally, with the operationalizaton of the new loss and damage fund, the GST should emphasize the need for early capitalization of the Fund and with that early capitalization there should also be rapidly scaled up new and additional support for loss and damage to build capacity, technological know-how and to ensure funding resources are available at scale, and in time to the communities that need it, to address loss and damage.
The Ministers also consider that the GST presents an opportunity to reiterate the need to make finance flows consistent with pathways toward low emissions climate resilient development aligned to 1.5°C, and to also emphasize the need to safeguard against direct or indirect barriers for developing countries especially small island developing states (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs) to access sustainable finance. The GST should reflect a systemic commitment to this objective and to support developing countries’ efforts to make finance flows consistent with such pathways. It should also invite investors and other corporate actors to improve climate data accountability, climate risk disclosure and management while considering how to actively alleviate unintended consequences for SIDS and LDCs.
The Ministers reaffirm CARICOM’s support for the Bridgetown Initiative to reform international financial institutions to make them fit for purpose inter alia to deliver scale of finance to match the climate finance needs of developing countries, to reduce capital costs that developing countries face, to increase the share of grants and highly concessional instruments, to support the expansion of the fiscal space of developing countries, and to streamline access as well as endorse a multidimensional approach to optimize eligibility for access to concessional financing. It considers that the GST should acknowledge the Initiative and the efforts to expand ease of access to grant and concessional finance for small island developing and low lying coastal developing states.
Ministers support a call to multilateral development banks and other international financial institutions to provide information to the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement (COP/CMA) on progress in the reform agenda. In addition, it underscores the need for the GST to include a call to finance providers to take into account the need for debt sustainability for climate vulnerable countries and to consider adopting measures to alleviate debt burden of those countries including natural disaster clauses, debt suspension, restructuring and cancellation.
- Ensuring follow-up to the GST
Ministers reaffirm the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) call for the GST outputs to include a targeted follow-up process. Key aspects of the follow-up process that should be reflected in the GST decision are:
- Urging the UN Secretary General to convene an event for presentation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2025/COP30.
- Establishing a capacity building and technical assistance programme for NDC development in line with the invitation to improve NDCs.
- Calling for inclusion in the agenda of SB 60 an item on follow-up of the First GST under the Paris Agreement.
- Requesting the UNFCCC Secretariat to prepare a report on lessons learned from the conduct of GST 1 and areas for further work to be taken into account for GST 2.
- Inviting Parties and relevant organizations to submit to the Secretariat, by, 1 February 2024, information on their experience, and lessons learned, through the conduct of the first GST.
- Inviting the IPCC to continue to provide relevant information to Parties, taking into account the work of the UNFCCC and in particular the Global Stocktake in determining its future products and assessment cycles, and requests future IPCC assessment report cycles to be fully aligned with future Global Stocktakes.
- Inviting Parties to indicate how GST has informed NDC update upon submission in 2025.
- Encouraging annual reporting on coalitions, pledges and action plans to the UNFCCC.